So, after the last chapter we are left with a little puzzle. How do we get from condemnation for unfaithfulness to wooing and healing of relationship? How do we get from Not My People, and No Mercy, to My People and My God? It seems like an abrupt leap. I would warent that it’s intended to be so. It is supposed to be shocking so the next piece that we get today can somehow make sense.
To tell Hosea to go again and love the woman who is playing the whore would seem rediculous after the proclaimations of an intention to destroy and leave her to her own divices. When we hear God’s intention to heal though, it all makes sense. They couldn’t make rectification without an act of redemption. The truth of the matter is that this woman that Hosea is called to love again was a slave to her whorings! He had to pay to free her from this bondage! Again we have no real reference to her desiring to be free, but we can hardly imagine that once she realized her true bondage to this she didn’t desire freedom. And decidedly, Hosea gets off easy. Some silver (while probably a great sum for him) and some barley does not compare to the price God pays for us!
And again, do we see ourselves? I love the physical pictures of the old testament! All over the place God is pointing to His plan for His people! This is another example to a huge reference to the gospel. To the payment that Jesus Christ would make for us! I wonder if the people who were witnessing Hosea’s life had even the slightest incling of the glory that was being refered to? They were so jaded. Even a life being lived out as an example of the pain they were causing their greatest lover, God, couldn’t shake then from their lifestyle. They persisted through to the judgement, and did not live to see the redemption.
I often wonder at the lives of the Israelites and the work of God among them? How different our lives would be if we were as they were. A Holy nation, a priesthood that would collectively scorn or follow their leader, God. We have a gift of individual interaction with God. I still wonder, though, how often it came down to the individual choice for them? Like Hosea’s calling. Rahabs choice to follow God. Ester and the life she lived. While we see a broad picture of a nations rebellion, how many of the hearts of men were struggling with their own relationship with God? That’s just my little musing interjection.
This is the shortest chapter in the book, yet the most significant. The rest of the book repeats the warnings and pleas against the unrepentant heart of the people that Hosea continued throughout his life. What we are seeing in the rest of the book is the fullness of the ministry of Hosea among the people that we have a picture of the physical representation of in the beginning chapters. This chapter is the centering of the plan of God to rescue His people and a hint at the promise that would be a long way off. I can almost hear the people looking at Hosea’s physical ministry and saying, “you preach doom and gloom, yet you forgive your own wife her whorings. If you are pointing to what God wants for us He is obviously not following through on these threats.” Missing the whole point of what had happened in the middle of their lives. The naming of their children. The giving her over to her sinfullness.
We can see this clearly now, as we have the fullness of God’s plan before us in the word. This should not make us all the more jaded to our sin because we have already seen the salvation of God! This should make us all the more repentant and greatful for the faithful gentleness of God that we could never have merited. To quote the words of Hosea to his wife:
“You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 3:3 (ESV)
I absolutely LOVE the promise at the end, ‘so I will also be to you”. And I will leave you with htis thought. God has redeemed us, let us be to Him as He is to us!